Lower Trestles in San Clemente is known for three major events. The US Board Riders finals, the WSL finals and the USA Surfing National Championships.
With the boardriders done w few weeks ago and the WSL still two months away, it was fron and center for the USA Championships.
Surfers from Florida, Hawaii and California that surfed all season long trying to get an invite to the prestigious event, filled the beach side for 5 days, battling through round after round until there was just 1 left in each of the eight divisions.
Let's wait no longer, To Lower Trestles we go......
Boys Finalists: Lucas Cassity, Dane Matson, Dylan Young, Henry Rothey.
Champion: Lucas Cassity
For the second consecutive year, Lucas Cassity is a national champion.
Last year, the then 13-year-old, won both the U16 and U14 divisions.
This year at the ripe old age of 14 he was knocked out in the quarterfinals in the U16's but came back for revenge and added the U18 to his resume.
It did not come without some drama.
Trailing in the final seconds, both Cassity and Dane Matson got up on a wave needing a score to run down early later Dylan Young. After the buzzer sounded and the waves were finished, all three surfers waited beachside for the judges to come up with the final scores. When the announcement came out, it was Cassity's 6.93 which vaulted him into the lead and he held on as the announcement of Matson's score came in short of the mark needed.
Cassity breezed through his first few rounds with a 13.04 in round 2 and a 15.57 in the quarterfinals that featured wave scores of 7.47 and 8.10.
Prior to losing in the quarters of the U16, he put up a score of 14.56 in round two, with a 7.33 and a 7.23.
Lucas Cassity 11.93, Dane Matson 10.93, Dylan Young 10.83, Henry Rothey 7.97.
Girls' finalists: Kylie Pulcini, Bella Kenworthy, Eden Walla, Zoe Chait.
Champion: Kylie Pulcini
The surfer from Florida put up an 8.00 to take the lead in the later stages of the final and held on as both Bella Kenworthy and Eden Walla made a last-ditch effort to catch her. Both fell short and Pulcini had her emotional victory
Kenworthy is a stalwart on the Challenger Series this year and Walla was attempting to win her third national title of the day, having already won the U16 and U14 divisions.
To get to the finals, Pulcini had a late come back in the semis when she got her best two waves of the heat on her last two attempts. Her marks of 6.93 and 6.40 were enough to narrowly edge out Syd Ott.
In earlier rounds, Kylie won her first-round heat and finished second in her second round to make it to the semis.
Kylie Pulcini 12.83, Bella Kenworthy 11.40, Eden Walla 10.30, Zoe Chait 5.53
Boys Finalists: Eeli Timperi, Rex Hennings, Dane Libby, Will Deane
Champion: Eeli Timperi
The month of June has been good for the red-hot surfer from Finland.
Timperi took the title of Grom Search winner last week at Huntington Beach, and came back this week and rolled through the competition in the U16 to become the new national champion.
When I say he rolled through the competition, his numbers backed it up.
He had a heat 1 total of 15.33 with a high of 8.00 and followed that up the next round with a high wave score of 9.77 and a heat total of 16.90.
He advanced through the quarterfinals with a 13.36 and in the semi-finals rolled a 13.60.
The finals were not in doubt long, as on his third wave, Timperi dropped a 9.00 to vault to the lead, and was never challenged. His backup of 7.83 gave him a 16.83 heat total. Will Deane made an effort to catch the leader but could only get a high score of 7.73 and a heat total of 14.23.
Eeli Timperi 16.83, Will Deane 14.23, Dane Libby 9.03, Rex Hennings 3.63
Boys Finalists: Merrick Mochkatel , Jaime Veselko, King Nicol, Zal Costa
Champion: Merrick Mochkatel
Merrick Mochkatel came to the nationals with wins in the HSA Oahu Prime Queens and Prime Makaha in his home of Hawaii. He brought his top form to San Clemente.
The 12-year-old was on fire the entire event.
In his opening round, he dropped a 9.00 and a backup of a 7.00 for a heat total of 16.00. He followed that up with a quarterfinal heat of 15.00 with a high of 8.50. Once in the semi-finals, he slipped past Veselko 12.77 to 12.60 to head into the finals unbeaten on the day.
The final heat once again came down to a battle between him and Veselko with Mochkatel dropping 6.77 and 6.17 for a heat total of 12.94 to win by 0.27. Veselko dropped the high score of the heat with an 8.17, but could not get a high enough backup to take the title.
Merrick Mochkatel 12.94, Jaime Veselko 12.67, King Nicol 11.50, Zal Costa 8.60
U14 Girl's Finalists: Eden Walla, Alana Lopez, Bailey Turner, Zoey Kaina
U16 Girl's Finalists: Eden Walla,Alana Lopez, Mia McLeish, Zoie Zietz
Double Champion: Eden Walla
Walla has been dominating events locally for the past year and this time she dominated a national field.
She made her way into three finals, winning two of them the U14 and U16 divisions. In her last final, the U18 she had a third place finish.
She started her day by winning the U14 with a total of 14.00, holding off Zoey Kaina, who's 13.40 landed her in second.
To get to the finals, Walla won her quarterfinal heat with a 13.83 and won her round 1heat with a 16.50 which included a high wave score of 8.83.
Just 20 minutes after her victory, she took the water again in the U16 and her final total of 13.37 was enough to take down the field. Her earlier heats in that division were 12.83 in the semi-finals and a 14.57 in the quarters. Her opening round heat was 14.50.
U14 Eden Walla 14.00, Zoey Kaina 13.40, Alana Lopez 9.67, Bailey Turner 7.74
u16 Eden Walla 13.37, Alana Lopez 9.40, Mia McLeish 9.17, Zoie Zietz 9.07
Boys Finalists: Finn Castle, Zion Walla, Wyatt Yount, Hayden Flores
Champion: Finn Castle
Fresh off of his double win in the NSSA Regional championships a few weeks ago, Finn Castle got hot at the right time in this one to become a national champion in USA surfing.
The finals came down to a battle with him and Hayden Flores from Florida in which Castle used his final score of an 8.50 to put him over the top. His earlier wave of 7.17 had him battling Flores, who dropped an 8.00 and a 7.13 as his backup. Castles' 15.67 total was 0.54 ahead of Flores' 15.13
Castle slipped through in the semifinals with the second-place finish behind Flores, but in the quarterfinals dropped a huge 15.60 to win his heat. In that one, he had a 7.43 and an 8.17. His round one total was a nice 13.77 which featured yet another eight, an 8.67.
Finn Castle 15.67, Hayden Flores 15.13, Zion Walla 11.10, Wyatt Yount 9.26
Girls' Finalists: Teagan Meza, Ruby Stringfellow, Manalani Cazimero, Peeta Kenworthy
Champion: Teagan Meza
Tegan Meza and Ruby Stringfellow will be a battle to watch for many years to come and they put on a show in this one.
Meza used a high of 8.50 to capture her second straight USA championship with a 14.43 heat total. Stringfellow was her consistent self, scoring a pair of 6.17 scores. Her 12.34 total was solidly in second, but not enough to top Meza.
Teagan Meza had the distinction of being the only surfer in the event to drop a perfect 10 during the competition. She did so in the quarterfinals with a 17.83 heat total with a back up of 7.83.
Teagan Meza 14.43, Ruby Stringfellow 12.34, Manalani Cazimero 9.73, Peeta Kenworthy 8.87